If you thought salt was salt, you’d be wrong.
According to Bon Appétit, there is a brand of salt that rises above all others—and the magazine is going to reveal it, along with 49 other food products, when it introduces its take on the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval later this year.
Editors and chefs from the Condé Nast food magazine’s test kitchens will choose products worthy of the Bon App Tested & Approved Seal, which will be unveiled in the December issue. The selected products will be able to license the seal to use on their packaging.
“We’re constantly telling readers what to cook, how to cook,” said editor in chief Adam Rapoport . “Why not tell them what to use to cook?” The seal will identify the best among basics like flour and peanut butter, he emphasized, “not the obscure, regional, hipster ingredients.”
As magazines search for revenue outside print, Condé Nast is charging Bon App and its other titles with cooking up line extensions. The results so far include Bon App-branded pots and pans, a tie-in with Banana Republic, and Feast or Fashion , a collaboration with celebrity chefs and designers that is going national later this year.
Whether it’s skivvies approved by Wenner Media’s Men’s Journal or compost and gardening tools blessed by Rodale’s Organic Gardening, publishers can’t get enough of the endorsement game.
Of course, the magazine that started it all was Hearst’s Good Housekeeping, which has put its imprimatur on household products ranging from paint to electronics for the last 103 years.
GH’s iconic stamp apparently is ripe for imitation. “Whether it’s Allure, Condé Nast Traveler with the Hot list…anything from a travel magazine to a beauty magazine can do it,” Rapoport said. But unlike the GH seal, which is based on science and testing, “ours is about taste,” said Pamela Drucker Mann, Bon App’s publisher.
The question remains whether CPG marketers will vie for Bon App’s stamp of approval. The magazine points to research from sibling Allure, which says its Best of Beauty and Reader’s Choice awards generate an average sales bump of 9 percent.
The appeal to marketers of Allure’s program, now in its 16th year, is understandable what with the flood of new beauty products.
Seth Diamond of CatapultRPM, a CPG-focused marketing firm, said Bon App’s high-end image might scare off food marketers concerned that the seal might make their products look expensive to consumers. With all the endorsements now littering grocery shelves, he said the title would need to work hard to explain what the seal stands for and strenuously support it with marketing.
“There are a lot of seals and packaging clutter,” he said. “So what makes this different?”